Boston, MA — Mother’s Day is a special day but in Boston Bruins lore it is especially meaningful. Since 1970 its been synonymous with the iconic Bobby Orr goal, Orr flying thru the air after scoring against St. Louis in the Stanley Cup Finals. Orr is immortalized in a bronze statue out front of the TD Garden. Today, with number 4 in attendance as the team’s honorary captain, it was another defenseman’s turn to shine. Matt Grzelcyk, the second-year blueliner, who grew up a mile from the Bruins arena, netted two goals in Boston’s convincing 6-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Boston now leads the Eastern Conference Finals 2-0.
The first period was an old fashioned Adams Division playoff game. The referees let the two teams hammer each other, with or without the puck. Early in the game, Grzelcyk was crushed in front of the Bruins bench. He made it off of the ice on his own. He didn’t miss a shift, and rather than take a number of who hit him, he let his stick do the talking. At 15:22 Grzelyck wristed a shot on net that found its way past Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek for the 1-0 lead.
Carolina’s Justin Williams was sent off for Tripping at 18:26, giving Boston it’s first chance on the power play. It only took six seconds for Jake DeBrusk to knock home his own rebound for a 2-0 Bruins lead.
Boston outplayed Carolina in the first period and any chance that the Hurricanes had on their six shots was easily snuffed out by Tuukka Rask (21 saves).
The second period opened with Boston’s Patrice Bergeron called for Tripping away from the play at 1:09. The Bruins killed off that man advantage. They then added to their lead, taking advantage of sloppy defensive zone play by Carolina. Danton Heinen stole the puck, dished to Joakim Nordstrom, who’s shot redirected off a Carolina skate right to defenseman Connor Clifton. Clifton scored his first playoff goal and gave the Bruins a comfortable 3-0 at 3:46. The second period has been a bit of a bugaboo for the Bruins this postseason, but tonight there was no doubt about this one.
With Williams in the penalty box again, for Holding at 16:07, Grzlecyk struck again when he backhanded a Charlie Coyle feed past Mrazek to make it 4-0 Boston. After two periods of play, the Bruins were outshooting the visiting Hurricanes 21-17.
The third period of this one was anti-climatic as David Backes knocked home his third goal of the playoffs building the lead to five. David Krejci and Torey Krug (three assists) assisted on the goal. Bergeron was whistled for Tripping again at 2:22. The Bruins successfully defended against the struggling Hurricanes power play. Seconds after coming out of the penalty box Bergeron took an outlet pass from Coyle (two assists) and set up Heinen for the backhander at 4:32.
At 11:17 Williams tipped a Justin Faulk shot from the blue line past Rask for the Carolina goal. With the score 6-1, the Bruins got a tad sloppy as the period wound down. Rask came far out of his crease in an attempt to clear the puck from the Bruins zone but he passed it right to Teuvo Teravainen, who wristed the puck into the empty net. Despite only outshooting the Hurricanes 25-23 for the game, Boston totally dominated this one.
Afterward, Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour was complimentary of the Bruins play. “Their a good team,” said the first year coach. “It’s always difficult when you play good teams. We’re not helping ourselves.” “Tough night,” is how Brind’Amour characterized it for his team. “Their playing their game, we haven’t got to ours,” said the coach.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was pleased with the outcome. “We elevated our game from game one,” said Cassidy. “Our start was good, they were physical, we answered the bell. We didn’t give up much in the first. I think there was one tip for a scoring chance. Generated some of our own, took advantage of a power play opportunity and had the lead going into the first intermission which was our goal.”
The same two teams meet again on Tuesday night at 8:00 pm at PNC Arena for game three.